\ ˈfrāl How to pronounce frail (audio) \

Definition of frail

1 : easily led into evil frail humanity
2 : easily broken or destroyed : fragile frail, open-cockpit biplanes …— Jonathan Weiner
3a : physically weak a frail old woman a frail voice
b : slight, unsubstantial smiled a minute frail smile— Raymond Chandler

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Other Words from frail

frailly \ ˈfrā(l)-​lē How to pronounce frailly (audio) \ adverb
frailness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for frail

weak, feeble, frail, fragile, infirm, decrepit mean not strong enough to endure strain, pressure, or strenuous effort. weak applies to deficiency or inferiority in strength or power of any sort. felt weak after the surgery feeble suggests extreme weakness inviting pity or contempt. a feeble attempt to walk frail implies delicacy and slightness of constitution or structure. a frail teenager unable to enjoy sports fragile suggests frailty and brittleness unable to resist rough usage. a reclusive poet too fragile for the rigors of this world infirm suggests instability, unsoundness, and insecurity due to old age or crippling illness. infirm residents requiring constant care decrepit implies being worn-out or broken-down from long use or old age. the dowager's decrepit retainers

Examples of frail in a Sentence

In his old age his health became increasingly frail. a small and frail ship
Recent Examples on the Web Elderly dogs and cats may be too frail to interact safely with a rambunctious puppy or kitten despite the belief some people have that a younger animal may spark some life into the oldster. Iris Katz,, "Pet Wise: Many factors to consider when thinking about adding a new pet," 16 Nov. 2019 Tyburski noted that even a patient who is frail or needs a cane may walk for miles., "“We were very surprised,” said her son, Brian Fish. “I thought she would head north. We didn’t think of Mexico at all.”," 3 Nov. 2019 Chanel confirmed that Lagerfeld, who had looked increasingly frail in recent seasons, died early Tuesday in Paris. Thomas Adamson And Samuel Petrequin,, "Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel dies in Paris," 19 Feb. 2019 For regular customers, many of them frail or elderly, the pharmacy was a touchstone — a place to gather for gossip or a just a friendly smile and a few kind words. Erin Allday,, "Paradise Drug was an old-time pharmacy. It held on after the Camp Fire. Until now," 8 Nov. 2019 Harnessing best practices from Medicare Advantage, our innovative data-management technology allows us to commit to caring for seniors and those who need it most: the chronically ill and frail. Branded Content Contributor, Orange County Register, "Alignment Health Offers the Care You Deserve," 6 Nov. 2019 Listeria monocytogenes can cause serious and at times fatal infections in the young, frail and elderly, as well as those with weakened immune systems. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Michigan apples recalled in 8 states due to listeria concerns," 29 Oct. 2019 So patients who are homeless, frail or live alone, or have unstable housing, can occupy hospital beds for weeks or months — long after their acute medical problem is resolved. Kaiser Health News, The Denver Post, "Why Denver Health and other hospitals are getting into the housing business," 7 Oct. 2019 There’s nothing frail and princess-y about Dolo: Her Snow White is naive but eminently practical; her wicked queen is masterfully, cartoonishly, foot-stompingly bad…malevolent without terrifying tiny audience members. Dominic P. Papatola, Twin Cities, "Review: Don’t expect Disney at CTC’s adaptation of ‘Snow White’," 6 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'frail.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of frail

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for frail

Middle English frele, frayle, borrowed from Anglo-French frel, fraile, going back to Latin fragilis "liable to break, weak" — more at fragile

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Time Traveler for frail

Time Traveler

The first known use of frail was in the 14th century

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Statistics for frail

Last Updated

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Frail.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 12 December 2019.

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More Definitions for frail


How to pronounce frail (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of frail

: having less than a normal amount of strength or force : very weak
: easily damaged or destroyed


\ ˈfrāl How to pronounce frail (audio) \

Kids Definition of frail

: very delicate or weak a frail little child

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More from Merriam-Webster on frail

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for frail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with frail

Spanish Central: Translation of frail

Nglish: Translation of frail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of frail for Arabic Speakers

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a period of high artistic development

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